Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New "One Wisconsin Now" Blog Follows The Annette Ziegler Disciplinary Hearing

One Wisconsin Now (OWN) - - a Milwaukee-based progressive policy and communications organization - - is launching a new website to highlight the Wisconsin Judicial Commission's upcoming disciplinary review into ethics allegations against now-State Supreme Court Justice Annette Ziegler.

The hearing begins next Monday morning, September 19th at the Washington County Courthouse.

During this year's Supreme Court election that was won by Ziegler, OWN documented a pattern of cases over which Ziegler presided in her Washington County court room that involved a West Bend bank on whose board her husband served as a paid director.

State rules discourage or prohibit such conflicts, or require that they be disclosed to the parties: Ziegler eventually reached a settlement with the State Ethics Board in which she admitted to ethics code violations regarding some of the cases, and paid a civil forfeiture.

The Wisconsin Judicial Commission proceeding on the 19th is a separate inquiry: further discipline against Ziegler could occur once the matter moves to the State Supreme Court for final disposition - - an awkward process, to say the least, as Ziegler is now a member of the Court and will be judged by her colleagues.

Her earlier request that the Commission's proceeding take place based only on written briefs was denied.

The OWN website includes details of a number of the controversial cases, along with other archives and more material about additional financial relationships between Ziegler and her husband, and the bank.

I am on the Board of Directors of one OWN organization, but played no role in its Ziegler probe or the establishment of the new website.

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